Jazz CD Reviews

Paul Cacia Jazz Orchestra – Legacy – The Last Sessions – Empressario

A fine big band primer

Published on July 24, 2006

Paul Cacia Jazz Orchestra  –  Legacy – The Last Sessions –   Empressario
Paul Cacia Jazz Orchestra  -  Legacy – The Last Sessions  – Empressario 5500,  38:33 ****:

Recorded during the years 1991 to 2005, Paul Cacia’s 2006 compilation issue, Legacy -The Last Sessions, is a CD of jazz standards played by dream bands put together by Paul to honor the crème de la crème of jazz stars. Cacia had all the improvised solos recorded privately. For some of the all-star soloists, it was their last recording session, though Paul has not indicated which ones meet that reference. Some of the soloists thank goodness are still with us.

Cacia himself is known as a high note trumpet virtuoso in the mold of Maynard Ferguson. This is especially noted in the first track, the opera aria Nessun Dorma. Next comes Ellington’s Take the A Train, which features solos by Don Menza on tenor and Snooky Young on trumpet, and a nice arrangement by the late Ernie Wilkins. Another classic, Stormy Weather,  arranged by the great Basie arranger, Sammy Nestico has Cacia with solo trumpet and Flugelhorn honors.

The sole vocal track, Why Don’t You Do Right, is sung in a sultry manner by Jennifer Wood, backed by solos by Paul Smith on piano and Harry Sweets Edison, on Harmon trumpet. Pete Rugolo’s Overtime is a near five-minute solo extravaganza, with honors to a multitude of stars each getting a few bars: Ray Reed, Pete Christlieb, Gabe Baltazar, Bill Watrous, Louis Bellson, and Pete and Conte Candoli. This track alone is worth the cost of admission. The Candoli brothers are back again for the standard Angel Eyes and the late Jimmy Rowles has a brief opening solo. Duke Jordan’s Jordu benefits by an arrangement by the brilliant West Coast legend, Bill Holman, who thankfully is still going strong today.

Monk’s ‘Round Midnight is done in a moody low-key manner and features Jimmy Rowles’ daughter Stacy on flugelhorn, and Jack Sheldon on trumpet, before the full band kicks in. Closing the CD is Cole Porter’s Love for Sale given a Latin treatment with the late Tito Puente on timbales and percussion by Victor Pantoja and Rey Armando. Non-soloists worth mentioning in some of Cacia’s super bands include Marshall Royal, Jack Nimitz, and Buddy Collette on saxes and Wayne Bargeron on trumpet.

This Cacia release is a nice recommendation as an introductory CD for jazz fans who want an introduction to the world of big band jazz. It’s a crash course in 38 minutes.

Tracks: Nessun Dorma, Take the A Train, Stormy Weather, Why Don‚t you Do Right, Overtime, Angel Eyes, Jordu, Round Midnight, Love For Sale

- Jeff Krow




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